by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
This book came out in late 2009 and quickly spread like wildfire. It seemed to captivate peoples’ imaginations with the witty writing and interesting stories. Levitt and Dubner seemed to do the impossible; they made economic theory interesting to the masses. Pick this book up and it will stick with you too.
“The conventional wisdom is often wrong.”
“Morality, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work, wheareas economics represents how it actually does work.”
“After all, your chances of winning a lottery and of affecting an election are pretty similar. From a financial perspective, playing the lottery is a bad investment. But it’s fun and relatively cheap: for the price of a ticket, you buy the right to fantasize how you’d spend the winnings – much as you get to fantasize that your vote will have some impact on policy.”
“Social scientists sometimes talk about the concept of “identity”. It is the idea that you have a particular vision of the kind of person you are, and you feel awful when you do things that are out of line with that vision.”
“It is well and good to opine or theorize about a subject, as humankind is wont to do, but when moral posturing is replaced by an honest assessment of the data, the result is often a new, surprising insight.”
“Information is a beacon, a cudgel, an olive branch, a deterrent–all depending on who wields it and how.”
“If you learn how to look at data in the right way, you can explain riddles that otherwise might have seemed impossible. Because there is nothing like the sheer power of numbers to scrub away layers of confusion and contradiction.”
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Sticky Books are those that you just can’t get out of your head. They stick with you long after you have put the book down and have moved on to something else. These are some of my Sticky Books. I don’t enjoy reviewing books myself. I find I am either full of far too much praise for the book because I know how difficult it can be to write a book, or I am far too negative about a book because, well, I guess I was just in a bad mood. So instead of reviews, I have pulled some of my favorite quotes from each Sticky Book.